WSU Tri-Cities 2024 Spring Round-Up

WSU Tri-Cities 2024 Spring Round-Up

What an incredible year it’s been at WSU Tri-Cities! As the spring semester comes to a close, we celebrate the accomplishments of our outstanding students, faculty and staff.

Take a look at some of the highlights!


Washington State University honored more than 280 graduating students this year, including graduates from the fall 2023, and spring and summer 2024 terms. The ceremony included a commencement address by Frank Armijo and recognition of an honorary doctorate degree for Patsy Whitefoot.

Multicultural Graduation

Ahead of commencement, graduating students had an opportunity to attend the Multicultural Graduation Celebration on campus with their families and friends, hosted by the Rainbow Alliance, Dreamers Club, and Black Student Union. Local performers displayed their talents and graduates were given traditional serape stoles to be worn at commencement.

Nursing Pinning Ceremony

Before commencement, nursing students attended a ceremony in which they were “pinned” by someone who has been important to them in their nursing education, ceremonially welcoming undergrad nurses into the profession

The following individuals were honored for their contributions to the nursing program:

  • Clinical Excellence Award: Jeanette Gordon
  • Outstanding Prelicensure PL-BSN Student: Kevin Jurado

College of Education Celebration

Graduating students in the College of Education gathered for a celebration of academic accomplishment, and families and friends of the students mingled with faculty.

Evening of Excellence

The Student Excellence Awards recognized the outstanding leadership and achievements of WSU Tri-Cities’ students, organizations, and advisors. The awards ceremony, also called the Evening of Excellence, is hosted by the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership.

The following individuals were honored at the ceremony:

  • Student Employee of the Year: Connor Mitchell and Samantha Grade
  • Student Organization Advisor of the Year: Liz Benitez (Dreamers Club)
  • Crimson Spotlight Award: Abraham Ledezma and Sarai Lopez
  • Leaders in Action Award: Coding Cougs
  • Cougar Image Award: Joel Aleman
  • Student Organization Event of the Year: Honoring Elson S. Floyd hosted by the Black Student Union
  • Student Organization of the Year: Makers Club
  • President’s Award for Leadership: Razan Osman
  • Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Career in Leadership: Isaac Marroquin and Reem Osman

Order of the Engineer Ceremony, Pledge of the Computing Professional, and SEAS Graduation Celebration

The Order of the Engineer and Pledge of the Computing Professional ceremonies were initiated to foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the engineering and computing professions, bridging the gap between training and experience, and representing visible symbols that identify engineers and computer scientists.

Graduating engineering and computer science students and professionals from the Tri-Cities community gathered to participate in the ring and pledge ceremonies. The Engineer’s ring is made of stainless-steel and worn on the fifth finger of the working hand by engineers who have accepted the Obligation of an Engineer in a ring ceremony. Computing professionals receive a lapel pin written in binary code spelling out “honor”, signifying their pledge to honor their profession.

Following the ceremonies, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences held a graduation celebration where four seniors were recognized for their achievements.

  • SEAS Outstanding Senior in Mechanical Engineering: Mary Workman
  • SEAS Outstanding Senior in Electrical Engineering: Jackie Kelly
  • SEAS Outstanding Senior in Computer Science: Cyrus Fillmore
  • SEAS Outstanding Senior in Civil Engineering: Jeremy Doroshchuk

Faculty and Staff Awards

WSU Tri-Cities faculty and staff awards are given annually to honor those campus members who epitomize the highest levels of excellence in the pursuit of the university’s mission and goals.

Chancellor Sandra Haynes recognized individuals who are retiring, received tenure and promotion, and have had outstanding achievements throughout the academic year. She also presented the following awards:

  • Distinguished Teaching Award: Yichien Cooper, Assistant Professor, College of Education
  • Outstanding Adjunct Business Faculty Award: Russ Keefer, Adjunct Faculty, Business
  • Outstanding Adjunct STEM Faculty Award: Stephen Callister, Adjunct Faculty, Biology
  • Distinguished Research Excellence Award: Tom Collins, Associate Professor, Viticulture and Enology
  • Distinguished Employee Excellence Award: Karina Barajas, Administrative Manager, Academic and Student Affairs

Showcase for Research and Creative Activities

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Collaboration Hall to learn about innovative research and creative student projects. The displays represented graduate and undergraduate students as well as the WSU Tri-Cities Clean Energy Ambassadors Network (CEAN) teams.

The following projects received awards:

  • Best Capstone in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science: Automated Toolbox Inventory Control System
  • Best Capstone in Mechanical or Civil Engineering: Solar Powered Refrigeration System for Milk Transport
  • Best Creative Project: The Cloud, Emily Sierra
  • Best Undergraduate Project in Life, Biological, or Food Sciences: Artifical light at night (ALAN) and bird-window collisions on the WSUTC campus
  • Best Undergraduate Project in Physical, Computer, or Engineering Sciences: Low-Power Cooling System Redesign
  • Best Graduate Project: (Tie)
    • Effect of harvest time, alcohol concentration and maceration time on wine and grape phenolic composition and astringency perception
    • Comparison of Freeze-Killed verses Freeze-Dried Leaves for the Production of Frost Tainted Cabernet Sauvignon Wines

CEAN project awards:

  • First place: Flowing Forward: Innovations in Efficiency for Archimedes Screw Generators
  • Second Place: Cleaning the Air: Exploring Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage in Eastern Washington
  • Third place: (Tie)
    • Powering the University, Empowering the Community: A Campus Microgrid for Renewable Energy Generation and Education
    • Harnessing Energy Potential: Molten Salt

TRIO End-of-Year Celebration

The WSU Tri-Cities TRIO department hosted a celebration recognizing the hard work of their graduating students.

The U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Program is a federal outreach and student services program designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Crimson Fest

Fun for all ages, Crimson Fest gathered the Coug community on campus for food and festivities. Family and friends of students, staff, and faculty participated in outdoor activities while supporting local businesses and campus organizations.


#CougsGive day of giving raised money for scholarships at WSU Tri-Cities, thanks to the support from faculty, staff, and the community. Student success was displayed across social media throughout the day and swag items were given to those who spread the word.

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